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Why not to Tailgate?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Why not to Tailgate?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
August 28, 2007

Several drivers had “learning experiences” this morning on Route 47 at McConnell Road, when a white tractor-trailer hit a car and pushed it into the car in front of it, which got pushed into the car in front of it!

The truck, which was southbound on Route 47, rear-ended a black Acura Integra hard, and I do mean “hard”. The back end was solidly crunched, and the heavy steel bumper on the truck was bent backwards with the right edge against the right tire of the cab. The Acura was hit so hard that the rear window was broken and a speaker flipped out of the car and was hanging by its cord down the right side of the car. The Acura was pushed into a grey two-door Chrysler, causing major damage to the front of the Acura.

The rear bumper was the Chrysler was punched in, and it was pushed forward into a red car – the newest of the cars damaged. There didn’t appear to be visible damage to the red car, and the driver of the Chrysler commented on only slight front damage to his car.

But – get this! The driver of the Chrysler said that his wife and he have been rear-ended THREE times on Route 47 at McConnell Road in the past five years! He commented that it’s pretty stupid planning on the part of IDOT to give a green light southbound on Route 47 that comes up on a red light at Lake Avenue, and he thought the lights ought to be synchronized.

Hello, IDOT? Anyone home?

It seemed to take the Woodstock police a long time to get to the scene. After standing by for at least five minutes and watching the other drivers on their cell phones, I called the police to ask if they knew about the accident. The dispatcher said they did. It was approximately another five minutes before Woodstock’s unmarked car arrived from the south.

Luckily, there didn’t appear to be any injuries this morning. The driver in the Acura is the one most likely to feel the impact of being struck by the truck. His seatback was broken, and the normal injury is whiplash. The sooner he gets treatment, the less likely is the possible of long-term pain. There are good chiropractors in Woodstock who know how to treat whiplash.

How can you avoid this type of accident? For starters, don’t stop right on the bumper of the car in front. Watch the brake lights of traffic ahead. If it begins slowing, anticipate the need to stop and slow down. Stop a car length back from the car in front.

If the driver behind you is crowding you, slow down even sooner, which will give you time to roll forward a little, if the tailgater behind you needs more room to stop. Who knows what the truck driver was thinking this morning? Was he on his phone? Text-messaging his terminal? Was there a GPS or laptop mounted where he could see the screen?

Watch your mirrors… and Good Luck.

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